A few years ago I ran across a book called The Seven Worst Mistakes Parents Make. My first thought when looking at the title was, “Just seven?” We blow it in far more ways than that! As I thumbed through the contents, I did not see one of the seven worst mistakes I see parents making: putting our child first. Before the marriage relationship. In some cases, even before God, thus making our children an idol made in our own image.
Now wait, you may think: Aren’t we supposed to put children first? Shouldn’t they be in the center of our lives; of our attention; of our affection when they arrive? I need to tread carefully here, for I am in the season of being an expectant grandparent and I don’t want to write words, even electronically, that I may later have to eat!
But what I am seeing frequently in our parenting approach concerns me. I am seeing children being raised at the price of our relationship with our spouses, with ourselves, and even sometimes with God. And the end result of a parenting approach that elevates the child over everything seldom ends well… especially for the child who subtly and not so subtly is being taught that they are the most important person on the planet.
This past weekend a college coach in an interview said that he taught his players that they were the most important thing on the planet. That no one and nothing was more important than they were. This approach resonated with these kids who have grown up in a world that reinforces that reality for them.
Where are they to learn the hard truth that they are NOT the most important person on the planet? Home is the place that teaches priorities and instilling lifelong values. But if they aren’t learning it in the home, they go off to school system and other aspects of society believing they are the most significant thing in life.
A bad lesson to impart. As believers in our homes, the Bible teaches that the most important relationship of all is our relationship with God. Cherish it and guard it above all others. Then, guard your marriage. Genesis 2 tells us that our marriages are to be the primary focus of the family relationship. Inside of that, the children come next. If we get that order wrong, disaster will ensue.
I am not telling you not to love your children. You must and your are to do so. But not to worship them… not to create an idol of them… and certainly not to ask them to bear the burden of being the most important person on earth.
He has already come. His name is Jesus.
FOR MEMORIZATION: But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
FOR REFLECTION: Evaluate your schedule this week. Do your children’s needs and schedules continually rise above your needs? How can you change one thing toward correcting that?